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Gary not the greatest says retiring football writer

A football reporter who has covered the highs and lows of his local club over the course of three-and-a-half decades is hanging up his notebook today.

But ask the Leicester Mercury’s Bill Anderson who was the greatest player he saw at Leicester City during his long career and you might be surprised by the answer.

Most pundits would probably name Gary Lineker, whom Bill first watched as a six-year-old schoolboy struggling to control the ball.

But instead, Bill nominates the late Keith Weller, a midfielder who won a handful of caps for England in the mid-1970s before moving from Filbert Street.

Bill, left, came to the Mercury as the paper’s football writer in 1974 and has remained in the same post ever since.

He has seen no fewer than 19 City managers come and go, as well as watching the likes of Lineker develop from schoolboy players into legends of the game.

“I watched this six-year-old kid who couldn’t control the ball become a superstar,” recalls Bill.

“He was probably the biggest name in my time, but the best player, the one that gave me the most pleasure, was the late Keith Weller.”

Bill is similarly in no doubt about City’s best manager during his time – the current Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill.

“Obviously the years under Martin O’Neill were the most successful in the modern era. He certainly kept them competitive in the top flight,” he remembers.

“That was certainly the best time. We also had Emile Heskey in the England team and editor Nick Carter saw the wisdom of covering England as much as Leicester City.”

The Mercury sent Bill to the World Cup Finals in France in 1998 when City players Matt Elliott (Scotland) and Casey Keller (USA) were among the line-ups.

Bill, whose last day at the paper is today, says he now plans to hit the golf course where he may well run into a familiar face – Lineker.

“I know Gary very well. He’s still a member of my golf club,” he added.


william telford (15/05/2009 12:10:25)
What about Frank Worthington?

Paul Linford (15/05/2009 12:20:17)
William, just to be clear, Bill did mention Frank Worthington in his interview with me, and Julian Joachim as it happens, but this bit didn’t make the cut.

Onlooker (15/05/2009 15:44:34)
Regarding the earlier, comments-deactivated shooting story:
“Oh, and of course, he also has the perfect response next time someone says all Twitter is about is ‘people saying what they had for breakfast’…..”
So, after he was shot, what did he have for breakfast ?
Just wondering.

Keith Farnsworth (28/07/2009 16:45:00)
I wonder if Bill has any memories of another Bill who was also something of a ‘fixture’ in the Leicester Press box –Bill King. I ask because it is not widely known that Bill King worked for my old paper, the Sheffield Telegraph, back in the 1940s.